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Wedges and Triangles: Big Move Ahead?

April 22, 2015

The central bank high is euphoric, the crash and burn equally epic.

Just out of curiosity, I called up a few charts of key markets: stocks (the S&P 500), volatility (VIX), gold and the U.S. dollar (UUP, an exchange-traded fund for the dollar). Interestingly, all of these charts displayed some version of a wedge/triangle.

In a wedge/triangle (a formation with many variations such as pennants), price traces out a pattern of higher lows and lower highs, compressing price action into the apex of a triangle as buyers and sellers reach an increasingly unstable equilibrium.

As price gets squeezed into a narrowing band, the likelihood increases that price will break out of the triangle, either up or down, in a major move.

So which way will these markets break--up or down? One thing is fairly certain: the S&P 500 (SPX) and the VIX (volatility) are on a see-saw--both don't soar at the same time. If the VIX soars, stocks are plummeting as fear takes hold. If the VIX stumbles along the bottom of its range, market players are complacent and stocks loft higher.

Many observers see the same inverse relationship in gold and the U.S. dollar--when one is going up, the other is weakening.

I tested this widely accepted truism by aligning the charts of both the U.S. dollar and gold, and found that there were lengthy periods during which gold and the U.S. dollar rose in tandem: About That Supposed Correlation of the U.S. Dollar and Gold.... (July 8, 2013)

My conclusion: each is influenced by a number of factors, some shared, some unique to each asset. As a result of this complex confluence, at times both go up together and at times there is a negative correlation (see-saw effect), and during other periods, there is little correlation, i.e. they act entirely independent of the other.

Let's look at the charts. Nothing fancy here--just clear wedges/triangles and declining MACD indicators.

Interestingly, gold rose when the VIX was elevated--that is, when market participants were nervous or fearful. If volatility breaks to the upside, stocks will fall and perhaps gold will move up as the flight to safety/fear trade replaces central-bank administered complacency that stocks can loft higher regardless of fundamentals.

Since the dollar also tends to strengthen when the herd is stampeding in a flight to safety, perhaps we can look to the VIX as the bellwether for what will likely happen to stocks, gold and the dollar.

If the risk-on central bank monetary cocaine trade continues, stocks may loft higher and the VIX, gold and the dollar may all drift lower as volatility and lower-risk assets are avoided in the quickening chase for yield in a negative-interest world.

If the risk-on trade evaporates and risk-off trades gain favor, stocks will be sold off hard, volatility will rocket higher (something we've almost forgotten can happen) and gold and the U.S. dollar will benefit from the flight to safety/central bank cocaine crash trade.

The central bank high is euphoric, the crash and burn equally epic. Be careful what monkey you invite to latch onto your back....








Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy (Kindle, $9.95)(print, $17.76)
go to Kindle edition
Are you like me?
Ever since my first summer job decades ago, I've been chasing financial security. Not win-the-lottery, Bill Gates riches (although it would be nice!), but simply a feeling of financial control. I want my financial worries to if not disappear at least be manageable and comprehensible.

And like most of you, the way I've moved toward my goal has always hinged not just on having a job but a career.

You don't have to be a financial blogger to know that "having a job" and "having a career" do not mean the same thing today as they did when I first started swinging a hammer for a paycheck.

Even the basic concept "getting a job" has changed so radically that jobs--getting and keeping them, and the perceived lack of them--is the number one financial topic among friends, family and for that matter, complete strangers.

So I sat down and wrote this book: Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy.

It details everything I've verified about employment and the economy, and lays out an action plan to get you employed.

I am proud of this book. It is the culmination of both my practical work experiences and my financial analysis, and it is a useful, practical, and clarifying read.

Test-drive the first section and see for yourself.     Kindle, $9.95     print, $17.76

"I want to thank you for creating your book Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy. It is rare to find a person with a mind like yours, who can take a holistic systems view of things without being captured by specific perspectives or agendas. Your contribution to humanity is much appreciated."
Laura Y.

Gordon Long and I discuss The New Nature of Work: Jobs, Occupations & Careers (25 minutes, YouTube)


HUGE GIANT BIG FAT DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this site should be construed as investment advice or guidance. It is not intended as investment advice or guidance, nor is it offered as such.... (read more)

WHY EMAIL TO THIS SITE IS READ BUT MAY NOT BE ACKNOWLEDGED: Regrettably, I am so sorely pressed for time and energy that I am unable to respond to the vast majority of emails. Please know I read all emails, but I can only devote a very limited number of hours to this blog and all correspondence....



This Month's entries:

Wedges and Triangles: Big Move Ahead? April 22, 2015

Ten Wonderful Things I'm Grateful For (Irony Alert) April 21, 2015

Disrupt or Be Disrupted April 20, 2015

The Value of Learning To Cook April 18, 2015

The Changing World of Work 5: "Human Robots" and High-Level Skills April 17, 2015

The Changing World of Work 4: The "Signal" Value of Credentials Is Eroding April 16, 2015

The Changing World of Work 3: "Full-Stack" Skills April 15, 2015

The Changing World of Work 2: Financialization = Insecurity April 14, 2015

The Changing World of Work I: America's Nine Classes April 13, 2015

What's Cooking at our House: Banh Xeo April 12, 2015

Today's Money Regimes Are Doomed To Failure April 10, 2015

Rich Middle Class, Poor Middle Class April 9, 2015

Neofeudalism 101: Strip-Mining the Upper Middle Class April 8, 2015

What Happens to Sales and Employment When Corporate Profits Fall? April 7, 2015

Guaranteed Financial Security Is a Fantasy April 6, 2015

Who Would Jesus Shun? April 5, 2015

The Inevitable Failure of Mechanistic Monetary Policy April 3, 2015

The U.S. Economy Slows to Stall Speed April 2, 2015

A Shocking Admission: "The Federal Reserve is a Criminal Conspiracy" April 1, 2015


March 2015 entries

February 2015 entries

January 2015 entries

Archives 2005-2014



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SPECIAL APPEAL TO READERS OF OFTWOMINDS from longtime correspondent Cheryl A.:

I don't recall exactly how I discovered Of Two Minds in late 2005, but it is hard to express how grateful I am that I did. As a result of the insight I have gained from the information Charles has shared over these past 9 years, I have been able to navigate this turbulent period much more successfully than most of my acquaintances. I'm sure that those of you who visit OTM with any regularity have similarly benefitted in numerous ways.

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10/20/14 P.S. Over a year ago, Charles wrote about the coming rise in the dollar, a story that is just now gaining traction in the mainstream media. He was also early to recognize that the price of oil was going to fall. For readers who want foresight into where we are headed, these are further examples of why Charles deserves your support.

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Extra-Special Bonus Aphorisms:


"There is no security on this earth; there is only opportunity."
(Douglas MacArthur)

"We are what we repeatedly do." (Aristotle)

"Do the thing and you shall have the power." (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." (E.F. Schumacher, via Tom R.)

"He who will not risk cannot win." (John Paul Jones)

"When we drink coffee, ideas march in like the army." (Honore de Balzac)

"Progress is not possible without deviation." (Frank Zappa, via Richard Metzger)

"Victory favors those who take pains." (amat victoria curam)

"The man who has a garden and a library has everything." (Cicero, via Lee Bentley)

"A healthy homecooked family meal and a home garden are revolutionary acts." CHS

"Do you know what amazes me more than anything else? The impotence of force to organize anything." (Napoleon Bonaparte)

"The way of the Tao is reversal" Or "Reversal is the movement of Tao." (Lao Tzu)

"Chance favours the prepared mind." (Louis Pasteur)

"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm." (Winston Churchill)

"Where there is ruin, there is hope for treasures." (Rumi)

"The grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love and something to hope for." Joseph Addison (via Susan J.)

"The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." (Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, via Wayne H.)

"Passive absorption of marketing-dominated media is the primary activity on the plantation of the mind, and that of course is the goal of the colonial overlords: distraction, passivity, confusion, divide and conquer, and the old stand-by, financial desperation." (CHS)

"While we can always buy back into a trending market, we cannot go back in time and recover a profit lost to greed or complacency." (CHS)

"Whatever remains unconscious emerges later as fate." (Carl Jung)

"Any sufficiently advanced cartel's actions are indistinguishable from magic." (CHS)

"We have no leadership, just cronies and puppets." (CHS)

"The secret sauce in an investment isn't the upside, it's the viability between people who choose to share your dream in business or in life." (Eric P.)

"The ultimate goals of making money are balance and independence from money." (An Chu)

"Central planning perfects the power of threats to bypass the system's defenses." (CHS)

"Independence requires independence of thought, habit and action." (CHS)

"Certainty has another advantage: it's more persuasive than hedged hesitancy." (CHS)

"That which is cheap and abundant will be squandered until it is no longer cheap or abundant." (CHS) (3/5/2014)

"The prime directive of any bureaucracy is to eliminate all accountability." (CHS)

"In a world besotted with the artifice of consumerism, what matters is not what can be commodified and bought but what can't be commodified and bought." (CHS)

"The Mobile Creative credo: trust the network, not the corporation or the state." (CHS)

"The Smith Market Uncertainty Principle: The more precisely we can determine the likelihood of a trend change, the less precisely we can determine the timing of the trend change--and vice versa." (June 20, 2014)

"Smith's Law of Conservation of Risk: Every sustained action has more than one consequence. Some consequences will appear positive for a time before revealing their destructive nature. Some consequences will be intended, some will not. Some will be foreseeable, some will not. Some will be controllable, some will not. Those that are unforeseen and uncontrollable will trigger waves of other unforeseen and uncontrollable consequences." (July 8, 2014)(thanks to Lew G. for retitling the idea.)

Smith's Neofeudalism Principle #1:: If the citizenry cannot replace a dysfunctional government and/or limit the power of the financial Aristocracy at the ballot box, the nation is a democracy in name only."

"The truth at any cost lowers all other costs." (Robert David Steele)

"Liberation isn't profitable, and more's the pity." (CHS, 11/29/14)

"There is no difference between the path of repeated failure and the path that eventual leads to uncommon success." (CHS, 12/5/2014)

"Focus not on retiring comfortably, but on working comfortably." (CHS, 1/30/15)

"When you're thirsty, it's too late to dig a well." (old Chinese proverb)

Opportunity, liberty and risk are not divisible." (CHS, 4/15/15)

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    My "definition" of success:

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    3. Were I to meet the living Jesus or Buddha at day's end, would I feel ashamed of my conduct during the day, or could I meet his gaze with the inner knowledge that I emulated his teachings to the very best of my ability?


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